Friday, we had our second appointment with my Rheumatologist.
Two weeks ago, he had predicted Rheumatoid Arthritis but ordered up a platter of tests for the sake of confirmation. This was our meeting to review the results and begin a treatment plan.
Honestly, I had not given the diagnosis a lot of weight in my mind. No more than anything else. If anything, I had just been happy that we seemed to have an answer in the first place. The steroids I was taking in the interim, to keep me comfortable, had given me this wonderful view of how it felt to be normal . . . And I had not felt comfortably normal for almost two years.
I didn’t take the arthritis lightly . . . No, I was merely not thinking of the stories and the experiences others have had with it. I have never had anything like this . . . Any ailments I’ve had were the sort we all experience. Colds, flu, sinus infections, blahblahblah. So, the whole longevity aspect of this arthritis verdict was something I wasn’t really taking to heart. It was more of this scenario where the doctor was going to prescribe something that would take care of it, and everything would go back to normal.
Like my kidney stones. There’s pain, you go get an IV of painkiller and some x-Rays, and they send you off with a little bottle of hydrocodone to keep you comfortable for the next day or so. Boom. Done.
I wasn’t naive . . . Just unfocused.
My rheumatologist doesn’t beat around the bush. He is kind, but straightforward. Efficient. Efficient is a good descriptor.
Came in, sat down, read off the test results to us, “yes, your numbers are positive for RA”.
(See, I had been worrying this whole interim that my tests would be negative, thinking that we would be back at square one. Patient Pixy is no different than School Pixy; I must succeed at testing!)
Then it was time to discuss the treatment.
Methotrexate is widely used for chemotherapy in different sorts of cancer. Leukemia, breast, lung, etc. It is also used in early stage abortions and ectopic pregnancy. Which sounds horrible, and since I knew nothing about Methotrexate until he was telling me about it here, it was a bit scary. The “things just got REAL” moment, you could say.
So basically, it is like a poison. I take six poison pellets all together on one day out of the week, to limit the toxicity. The biggest threat is liver damage, kidney failure, and low immunity. Apparently mouth sores are pretty much guaranteed (oh yay), and there is a high chance I will feel worthless the day after I take them.
One of the most serious points he made was that this is a category X drug. Meaning, accidentally becoming pregnant while on methotrexate will surely result in a termination. It isn’t the getting pregnant that is impossible . . . It is the viability –rather, the non-viability of the fetus. I do not believe in abortion, so this aspect is uncomfortable for me. The doctor was pretty clear, though, that any conception during this treatment would result in horrifying defects and ultimately stillbirth.
So that was a sobering part of our visit.
Coincidentally, on Monday I was in a fair bit of agony with my back, and it resulted in Minion being with his grandmother for the whole week. I couldn’t stand or sit for more than ten minutes or so without having to lie down, and I honestly worried that I had brought this upon myself because I am one of the greatest psychosomatic you will ever meet. Back pain has not been a part of this two year arthritis journey, and I was truly concerned that my suggested diagnosis had manifested itself in my head to such a degree that I was BEDRIDDEN.
Rheumatologist quickly examined and found that it was not RA-related, but that I was having a bunch of spasms and had done this to myself. I had walked around Target and BestBuy on the concrete floor in a pair of heeled boots on Sunday. Respectable normal heels, nothing risky. So, my fault I suppose.
But thankfully. Oh so thankfully. He was kind enough to send me home with some muscle relaxers and Vicodin, along with long term steroids, the poison pills, and supplements to counteract the side effects. With my existing prescriptions, we are looking at nine or ten different prescriptions to refill every month.
The poison pills will likely cause me to gain weight and thin my hair.
I’m already planning out some muumuus and wigs for the winter. To go with my gigantor weekly pill organizer.
Here comes PixyGranny.